25 Forum Terms

Web forums are a great way to start your discussion with other people who share the same interests. The terminology for web forums can be difficult to understand, especially for beginners. This article will help you navigate the world of internet lingo and get you up and running on some of the most popular terms!

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  • Admin: A person designated to manage the web forum.
  • Avatar: A picture that represents the member’s personality, usually located in their profile.
  • Bot: Artificial intelligence software designed to simulate human behaviour or automate aspects of the board rules and regulations such as deleting spam posts.
  • Board: Another term for a Web Forum. Can also refer to individual discussion topics within one website (e-g., “Flaming” is an individual Board under the larger topic called “Web Forums”).
  • Bulletin Board: Another term for a web forum.
  • Bumping: The act of posting an old thread on top of a newer one in order to bring attention back to it, or get more people involved with the discussion. Usually discouraged as posts usually do not have anything new added to the discussion.
  • Culture: The way a group of people communicates, learns from one another and experiences things in life.
  • Directory: A list of links, usually in alphabetical order
  • Discussion Topic: A subject that a web forum is specifically for. This can be general or specific.
  • Double Post: Writing two separate posts back to back without editing your first post before starting another one; not allowed by certain forums because it can be considered rude when someone responds to both at once and then they get flooded with replies from people who didn’t see their first post.
  • Hijacking: When someone hijacks a thread by changing the topic to something irrelevant, or takes over a discussion and prevents it from coming back to the original point with off-topic posts; not allowed on some forums.
  • Flooding: Posting many messages in succession that are of an identical nature (usually without adding anything new); not allowed because these types of threads usually have nothing new being added to them and they get old very quickly – boards generally discourage this type of behaviour with timeouts or bans for repeat offenders.
  • Flaming: Unpleasant, insulting or argumentative discussions.
  • Moderator: A person designated to monitor the website content and discussions in order to remove comments that violate rules set by the administrator.
  • Off Topic: This refers when discussions stray from the specific topics covered by a forum’s main category(ies). Can also be considered as talking about things unrelated to what’s being discussed.
  • Post: A comment or opinion in a discussion.
  • Poll: A poll is a question posed to the community in an effort to gather information on their opinion, popularity or experience with something – most web forums allow polls but they are not always visible and must be activated by the site administrator before becoming visible (or can only be posted after permission has been granted).
  • PM: Acronym for Private Message; this message is usually sent from one user to another as opposed to making public posts. When sending PMs, it’s important that you do not include anything that will reveal someone else’s identity such as contact details like email addresses, phone numbers etc. Unless specified otherwise by your forum of choice, these messages should remain private between sender and recipient(s).
  • Reply: A comment or answer to a post or thread.
  • Signature: A small text or image placed at the bottom of each post. Signatures are usually used to identify members on forums and include a person’s name, nickname, title (e.g., moderator), website URL etc. They may be changed by site administrators but can’t contain anything that will reveal someone else’s identity such as contact details like email addresses, phone numbers etc. Unless specified otherwise by your forum of choice, these messages should remain private between sender and recipient(s).
  • Spamming: Sending off multiple identical posts in order to annoy other people; not allowed because it is rude when people respond only to one portion of what you wrote – boards generally discourage this type of behaviour with timeouts or bans for repeat offenders.
  • Sub-Forum: A specific category for discussions on a web forum.
  • Sticky: This refers to a post that was made by the Board Admin or Moderator and is usually about important announcements, rules etc.; not allowed because these posts are generally very long-winded – boards discourage this type of behaviour with timeouts for repeat offences.
  • Thread: The name of the topic that is being discussed on a web forum.
  • Troll: A person who posts inflammatory messages on internet forums in order to provoke an emotional response from other users; not tolerated because it’s rude when people respond only to one portion of what you wrote – boards generally discourage trolling behaviours with timeouts or bans for repeat offenders.

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